Public data and geographic information for planning will be made more accessible by new Government strategy

A new strategy to tackle problems from traffic management to flooding, improved policy formulation and decision making by using better geographical information, was launched by Baroness Andrews in the report Place Matters: The Location Strategy for the United Kingdom.

The UK Location Strategy aims to simplify finding and using location data so that information can be accessed speedily to enhance decision-making. Too much crucial information about places in the United Kingdom and the public sector activities that occur at them are collected and stored in isolated documents and databases by councils, executive agencies and government, making it difficult to access, share and analyse that information.

The government policy announced today will enhance the information available for planning, for example, which communities require regeneration investment, where police should focus their resources or the best evacuation routes for different communities in the event of a flood.

The implementation of the Location Strategy will enable better risk management and better use of resources by introducing nationwide standards and support services for cataloguing information such as crime statistics, animal movements and disease information, air and noise pollution information and traffic congestion statistics.

Reducing the time taken to find, view, download and use location data the Strategy will also drive down costs and increase the ability to provide better public services.

Overall central government, local councils, police, the National Health Service, firefighters and members of the public will be able to access the information they need more efficiently, more quickly and with less expense.

Baroness Andrews said: 'Good maps and location intelligence can help determine how quickly our ambulances turn up, where a policeman patrols, how we act in a national emergency. Knowing more about where we live can help us make the best decisions.

'But across the country there is still too little sharing of the best practice and we are wasting time and money trying to find the information we need.

'The Location Strategy will ensure we make better use of information already held so we can use it faster and with less expense.'

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